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SoC: Space, Stuff, Psionics, and Angels

Aug. 3rd, 2009 | 10:34 pm

Space is a big place.  The wings, the wild, the vacuum, the nothing, the rant. 

If you teleported to a random point in the galaxy, chances are you would not find yourself inside a planet or even a star.  You would very likely end up in those in-between spots.  Space is mostly empty.  That's why it's called "space", not "stuff".  Stuff tends not to be empty.

Scientists thought they had invented a new medium when they created Hollow Stuff.  It was stuff, to be sure, but was mostly empty.  Then a philosopher realized that it was in fact, bottled space.  Space inside Stuff.  This revolution in philosphical science, this whole new way of thinking, was underwhelming.

Magic is the power of the mind, psionics.  It is the prophecy that fulfills itself.

Angels are curious creatures. Who really created them?  The Judeo-Christian deity?  I don't believe it.  Angels are a class of supernatural or spiritual beings who seem to have a fondness for working with humans. This way of thinking permits their existence and their archetypes without the need for much theological underpinning.

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A collection of blessings

Jul. 28th, 2009 | 06:18 am

These may seem familiar; I have taken poetic license with some to suit me. I'm polytheistic in an eclectic-agnostic sort of way.

Most of these are Celtic.
Read more...Collapse )

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Zany Ideas

Jul. 20th, 2009 | 05:19 pm

My brain has this unusual way of entertaining itself. I don't want to forget these.

* Recording a video of E. performing Aikido moves from behind a colored sheet (as a shadow). Edit in scenes of E.'s shadow yawning, stretching, and drinking tea to make it all look easy, Globetrotter style.

* Using voice changing effects in Halloween tracks (I know, duh, but it never occurred to me how fun that might be.)

Music: Neophyte - 13 Jaar Terreur De Megamix CD1. It's Gabber crap, but suits my gremlin-mood.

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Stellafane Convention?

Jul. 2nd, 2009 | 05:33 pm

Have you ever been there?  (You = whoever is reading this.)  It's an amateur astronomers' convention. 


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Tastes like Monty Python's chicken

Jul. 1st, 2009 | 10:43 am

I get a call from my kid (he's in the 7-10 age range) today.  It went a little something like this...

"Dad, don't freak out, and don't call poison control." 

"Ohhkayyy.  Why, what's up?"
"I ate a rattlesnake."
"The whole thing?"
"No, just a piece of it."
"Did you eat the venom sacs?"
"Was it cooked?"
(Phew.)  "What did it taste like?"
"Now, I'm being serious when I say this.  It tasted like chicken.  Although it was kind of chewy, like steak."
"So it was like chewy chicken?"
"No, it was rubbery."

"So, rattlesnake tastes like rubber chicken."

Just don't smack me with it when I blog nonsense.

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Why did I choose Aikido?

Jun. 30th, 2009 | 10:57 pm

My discovery process went like this...

Desire for social expansion > MeetUp.com > Guard Up! Family Swordsmanship... in Burlington, MA > Yahoo! Yellow Pages search for martial arts closer by > Tae kwon do schools (largely Korean, very popular in Lowell) > an American Gyo-Ryu school in Lowell > Wikipedia research + Interest in Japan + Interest in disabling but not harming opponent + Interest in "softer" martial arts > Aikido.

While Aikido Jinsei Dojo sensei Mark Chiapetta does point out some of the attack vectors when teaching, Aikido is largely defensive in nature.  The aikidoka (practitioner) responds to aggression by harmonizing with (redirecting) the aggressor's actions.  The objective is to safely neutralize the aggressor's ability to cause harm.  This safety is the concern of the aikidoka for the self and for the aggressor.

If I ever work in the healthcare field, this could be a very useful skill.  Sometimes patients are violent, especially in Emergency Departments.  Being able to subdue and restrain such a person without causing harm to anyone is a very valuable skill.

On another note, I am quite sore from yesterday's training.  I'm not sure how much I can endure for tomorrow's training.  I plan to go early and at least talk to sensei about getting a uniform and about wishing to be on the mat for reduced training and for practicing etiquette.  When resting during training, it is customary to sit (shikko?) on one's knees and toes at one of the mat's edges.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure how long I could stand to be in that position.

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My first Aikido lesson at Aikido Jinsei Dojo

Jun. 29th, 2009 | 11:28 pm

Edit 2009-06-30: I trained in a pair of sweat pants, not jeans.

Oh neg I she moss?  (Onegai shimasu?  The u at the end is nearly silent.)

I arrive at the dojo about seven minutes late.  I sheepishly open the door, hoping that class is not yet in session.  It is not.  I had already changed to my training clothes before arriving, a pair of jeans sweat pants and a T-shirt.  I remove my shoes and socks, empty my pockets, and step onto the mat for the first time.

Sensei Mark Chiapetta and student T. arrive from the changing room.  T. gives me a quick overview of dojo etiquette, a great deal of which I forget.  I am not an audio learner.  I learn to kneel on my knees and toes.  We sit facing sensei and the picture of Osensei (the creator of Aikido).  Students of lower seniority sit on the left side, on sensei's right.

Next we perform some serious stretching exercises.  I extend my knees just beyond their normal limits and bend into uncomfortable situations.  I am very much out of shape, and I have low endurance, so I start panting during the stretches.  Sensei admonishes me to take slower breaths, because this is the part of the lesson that is supposed to be relaxing and meditative.  But to me, it feels like low impact aerobics.

Sensei moves on to instruct me in performing safe falls.  I learned how to fall from a sitting (on knees) position and to roll gently onto my back.  We then learned some basic maneuvers:  walking, turning, and defense against an attacker who is trying to grab one of the defender's wrists.  We practice many techniques for the wrist grabbing.

Near the end of the lesson, I feel very dehydrated.  It affects my ability to concentrate and practice well.  I believe sensei noticed this, and moved us to the ceremony that marks the end of the lesson.  After that, T. practices sword techniques with sensei while I literally bow out.

When I get home, it is difficult to climb the stairs.  My muscles won't move.  Rising from a seated position is difficult.  It is not (yet) a matter of pain, but of the new rigidity in my muscles.  I actually fall on my face after trying to get up from the couch.  I find the situation very, very funny.  My partner kotarusromanus is very concerned, but I assure him that I am OK.  For the rest of the evening, I am careful when I stand up.

I suspect I will be sore tomorrow.

Overall, it was a good experience.  I have some trouble with the one-way communication style of traditional Aikido training.  As long as the instructor and my fellow students are patient with me, I think it will be fine.

"Onegai shimasu" is roughly translated to "let us train together to improve our futures".  Students usually say this to a partner before practicing a technique.  Every such encounter occurs many times in the dojo during a lesson.

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Off to my first Aikido lesson.

Jun. 29th, 2009 | 06:21 pm

I'm off to my first Aikido lesson. Supposedly I'll learn etiquette and body mechanics. More after I get back.

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A hole in one!

Jun. 27th, 2009 | 09:03 am

This one didn't put up much of a fight until it was over land. It broke the line while kotarusromanus was trying to remove the hook! It then flopped around and landed itself in a small hole in the ground. I didn't know what to do... kotarusromanus immediately knew that we had gardening gloves buried in our gear. He expertly used them to recover his catch.

We eventually managed to remove the hook and return it to the river. It darted away, healthy.

This is the biggest one kotarusromanus has caught in Massachusetts so far. I would be surprised if we catch another of this size today. That would be excellent.
A hole in one!

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First catch of the day: a small small-mouth

Jun. 27th, 2009 | 08:32 am

Kota caught this little guy and threw him back. Awww. :-)
First catch of the day: a small small-mouth

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